I realize that the official start of summer isn’t until June 21st. We’ve unofficially (but officially) started our summer! The boys wrapped up their school curriculum last week and we are now in summer mode. It feels good to have 36 weeks of school completed and in the record books. We don’t ever fully break for summer, though. We just scale back our school over the summer. This means the boys will do about 30-60 minutes of school work about four days a week. It’s a super flexible schedule and keeps their minds engaged over the summer months. In the past, we’ve done between grade workbooks as a our summer school, but we’re changing it up this year. Graham will continue to focus on his reading program and Owen will do a slow start of his school books for next year. The goal is for Owen to be roughly two weeks ahead in all his subjects by the start of our school year at the end of August. Graham might also get ahead if he is motivated. We’ll see!
It’s really been too long since I last updated you on the happenings of our crazy crew. Oops! You’ll find that I’m short on words today and heavy on pictures. The recap of our life looks something like this… Jeremy went out of town for a men’s conference. The boys had a sleepover in my room with a movie night. We got pizza and visited Silver Lake, the Mt. St. Helen’s Visitor Center, and Seaquest State Park in Castle Rock, WA. Grandpa & Grandma joined us for that adventure. We got donuts one day and went down to the empty church parking lot for bike riding and scootering. We had a cavity-free dentist appointment. We wrapped up school and co-op on the same day. We visited NW Trek with family to celebrate my nephew becoming a teenager. We visited our sweet GG (Great-Grandma) and the boys got to share their love of birds with her. We’ve a had sunny park playdate with friends. We’ve also had friends over to swim in our pool. The weather has been sunny and dry so we’ve been outside often. It’s been delightful! May has been a lovely month!
Okay, maybe the word “hints” isn’t the most accurate. It feels like summer is here in the PNW. We are experiencing a heat wave and it has me completely fooled into thinking it’s summer… right now. With just a week of school left, the weather is messing with my head. It’s making me want to ditch the books and head outside for all the adventures. Now, don’t worry, we will finish and we will finish strong. I might have already printed our “last day of school” signs… I was so tempted to use them on Monday, but I didn’t give in. Only 5 school days left. We can make it! Hooray! Summer break is right around the corner!
Mother’s Day weekend was a fun one! On Friday, I selected our activity of the day as a way to celebrate Mother’s Day. I requested a visit to the historic waterfall highway outside of Portland, OR. Jeremy and I started visiting this highway of waterfalls when we were dating and it’s been a place we’ve returned to many times. It’s a family favorite! Multnomah Falls is the most popular waterfall on the route and now requires reservations over of the summer tourist season. My goal was to visit it before permits became required at the end of the month. We stopped at Multnomah Fall first and then we did a new hike to Ponytail Falls. If you hike to the top of Horsetail falls, Ponytail Falls is beyond it. The trail takes you behind the waterfall which was a neat experience. We all enjoyed seeing a new sight and hearing the powerful pound of the water in the crevice behind the waterfall. We also hiked down to Bridal Veil Falls before heading off to lunch and errands in city. It was a beautiful day to visit one of my favorite places with my favorite people.
Saturday and Sunday, we celebrated Mother’s Day with Grandma and Nana. It’s a blessing to be close to our parents and to have such wonderful grandparents in our boys’ lives. We enjoyed Chinese food take-out with my mom and had our first BBQ of the season with Jeremy’s mom. Usually, Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off to summer, but I would say Mother’s Day weekend took that title this year. On Saturday, the kids ran through the sprinklers around our house. On Sunday, they had their first swim in the pool. It was a weekend full of sunglasses, sunscreen, water fun, and time with family. Full on summer vibes here!
With the school year quickly coming to a close, so is our co-op. We had a field trip last week were the boys learned flower pounding and floral arranging. We brought home lovely flowers and art to display. Yesterday was our final day of classes for co-op. The kids wrapped up nature journaling and PE. Our family gave a presentation on birds and I handed out a sweet “tweet” (bird cookies) to the class. We will get together next week for a end-of-the-year celebration and then break for summer.
I realize we have another full month of spring ahead of us, but the weather and the end of school are giving off strong hints of summer. These hints look like good times with family and friends and smell like sunscreen, chlorine, and briquettes. I’m daydreaming of the summer days ahead. They’re almost here!
We find ourselves in May and the PNW has actually had a few warm and sunny days in the last week (today, unfortunately, is not one of them). I’d forgotten it was spring and that May was right right around the corner. We saw quite a few snowflakes in April which left me feeling like Washington State was Narnia under the reign of the White Witch – always winter and never spring. As the calendar and the weather changed, it dawned on me – we are here! The end of the school year is in-sight. Our summer schedule is coming soon and the weather has finally decided to shift seasons! Hooray! Each sunny day sets my mind to scheming… What great outdoor adventure can we have next? It’s finally time to head outside!!!
As you can see, I am excited about the change in weather and the promise of a schedule change soon. Homeschool moms are just as susceptible as teachers and students to the call of the end of the school year. I hope the next month holds many fun, outdoor adventures. Let me share a few we’ve had over the last week or so. Fishing season is now open and the boys have gone out numerous times. A nearby lake is stocked with tagged fish that have prizes associated with them. The chance of catching a fish is exciting enough, but add a prize on top of that! It’s highly motivating. Sadly, the fish haven’t cooperated. The lack of fish catching hasn’t dampened the spirits of the fishermen.
Our co-op is doing a unit on nature journaling right now. This week, they dissected tulips. Last week, they dissected barn owl pellets. I learned that owl pellets aren’t poop, but actually the regurgitated contents of the owl’s stomach. I’m not sure which I consider more gross. Owen loved dissecting the owl pellet because of his fascination with birds at the moment. Graham was happy to watch. The boys are also doing soccer as a part of co-op. So far their “team” has won each game and they are really enjoying this activity. We’ve never participated in youth sports before, but if this enjoyment of soccer continues, I might just add soccer mom to my title as well.
Friday was a beautiful day and our family adventure day. We visited the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, outside of Lacey, to do some birdwatching. Owen was very professional with the binoculars ready and his birding checklist in hand. Owen can give you a detailed list, but I will just say we saw many birds. It was a lovely morning for a walk and we all got our first sunburns. Oops! We tend to forget the glowing orb can burn you. We haven’t gotten use to it being around.
Jeremy spent part of the weekend getting his garden ready and tending to the yard. The grass has woken up and apparently needs to be mowed… often. I’m thankful for a hubby who loves taking care of the yard. I’m not an outdoor chores girl. I’ve come to appreciate nature walks and the benefits of fresh air, but that hasn’t extended to gardening. I feel like keeping the kiddos alive is enough for me. Asking me to keep plants alive feels a bit too extra to me.
We checked out a birding backpack from the library and we hope to put it to good use over the next few weeks. It has a couple pairs of binoculars, an assortment of bird books, a couple local plant charts, and information on where to go birding in our area. I have a few outings in mind for May that should get us out on trails and birding at the same time. I’ll need to temper my expectations. I’m aware that my kids + binoculars = a slow walk. Patience will be key. Hopefully, we’ll catalog many birds while we enjoy the backpack.
Okay, those are a few of the spring things we’ve experienced over the last week. Not to be too redundant, but I’m thrilled it’s May! The countdown is on for the end of the school year and there are plenty of good times to have before we switch to our summer schedule. Woo hoo!
Easter week is always a big one for our family. Jeremy is a children’s pastor and Easter is the biggest Sunday of the year. Lots of preparation goes into making Easter Sunday the best one ever. Thankfully, Jesus’s resurrection makes it the best Sunday ever, regardless of our human efforts. We love to make holidays special, especially for the boys. We love all the activities, gifts, and fuss. But we also realize that new Easter shirts, bunny ears, chocolate, and plastic eggs have nothing to do with the true meaning of Easter. We can live with both/and. We can have both the celebration of our resurrected Savior and the springtime activities.
The Thursday before every big Easter event, our family spends the afternoon down at the church helping to prepare. This means moving prizes and gifts into place so we can give them away over the weekend. For as long as the kids can remember, they’ve helped us prepare by moving Easter baskets and setting up the church for other children to enjoy. It’s a PK (pastor’s kid) tradition and they love it. They are so helpful and so enthusiastic about the weekend to come.
Our house turned into the hub for all the Easter activities. On Friday, I decided to make sugar cookies. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use my bunny and egg cookie cutters. Saturday, we hosted an Easter weekend celebration with my parents. We had a pizza lunch, gave the boys their Easter baskets, and did an egg hunt. Later that evening, we colored Easter eggs. We often get asked why we do so much on the Saturday before Easter. With Jeremy working a good portion of Sunday, this allows us to get all the Easter festivities in without jamming them into the latter half of Sunday. It allows us more time as a family without feeling rushed.
Easter Sunday, the boys and I went to the late gathering at our church. This was the time that Jeremy needed me to assist with Children’s Church. Before church, I made the boys take their obligatory Easter Sunday pictures. They are good sports and put up with my mini photo shoot every year. After church, we had the Scott clan over for egg hunts, playtime, and a meal together. It was a full afternoon and evening of Easter fun with family.
The bonus of being a ministry family is getting the day after Easter off. It was a big week leading up to Easter and an even bigger weekend. Having Monday off is a nice rest to look forward to after so much activity. We decided to take our boys to see The Super Mario Bros. Movie. It was after spring break in our area and we figured going during school hours would give us a less crowded experience. We opted to see the movie in Olympia at the mall. They have “luxury loungers” at this theater. We all got a kick out of putting our feet up and leaning back to relax and watch the movie in style. We haven’t been to the movies as a family since Frozen 2 in 2019. It definitely felt like a special treat.
So often this happens… After a big week with lots of effort, someone in our family gets sick. This year it was me. I developed a sore throat Monday night and I’ve been batting it all week. After two tele-health visits, I started an antibiotic last night to treat it as strep throat. This was supposed to be a full week with a co-op field trip and a playdate with friends. Instead, I’ve spent a lot of time trying not swallow. Advil and salt water gargles have been my best friends. Skipping school wasn’t an option with our commitments this month. I masked up and homeschooled the best I could with a weak voice. Not ideal, but I didn’t want to get my kids sick. Being a homeschool mom makes illness difficult. Jeremy helped with the boys when he could, but there was no substitute teacher to call in. I’m hoping the antibiotics take effect soon so I can move forward with our upcoming plans. Our April plans are a bit “extra” this month and I would hate to miss more than we already have. You can’t plan for these things and you can’t control them. Whatever happens, I have peace. I’m doing the best I can. Sorry to end with the bad news after a post all of all sorts of goodies. Hopefully, the next time I write you, I’ll be well with adventures to share!
It seems like a lot has happened since I last sat down to blog. Nothing major, but all the ups and downs of everyday life. Let’s dive into the all little moments that have made up the last week and a half. I have so many things to share!
On Friday, March 3rd, Jeremy decided to clean up a hand-me-down fish tank in hopes of upgrading our kitchen counter fish experience. Owen’s betta, Sunny, relocated to Owen’s room to make space for the larger fish tank. On Saturday, Jeremy and the boys went on a fish finding quest. They each came home with a fish and the grand fish adventure began. We prepared the boys for the fish might not to survive the experience. We knew acclimating to a new tank can be difficult. This was true for Sunset, the fish Owen picked. (Did his name possibly lead to his demise?!)
On Friday, March 10th, we went on another fish finding outing and came home with four elephant ear guppies (which I wanted to name after the sugary fair treat). It turns out Barry, Graham’s fish from the week before, thought the guppies were a tasty snack. (Could it be their name, like Sunset, got them in trouble? Elephant Ear – seems possible). Since Barry was too aggressive, we had to let him go. At this point, two of the four guppies have passed. We blame Barry-related trauma. This leaves us now with three fish in the tank – Jeremy’s fish (Sharky) and two guppies (Cinnamon & Sugar). We knew acclimating fish to a new tank and finding good tankmates was a challenging process. Our losses haven’t been a surprise. Our hope is slowly to get our tank to around 7-10 happy fish. I wonder how long that will take at the rate we’re going?
The fish situation has had it’s highs and lows. Co-op was a bright spot last week with a pajama movie party. We also enjoyed a playdate with co-op friends and a dinner/game time with family. This weekend was a mix of moments. Some good, some not so good. On Friday, we postponed plans with friends because they were a little under the weather. Turns out, Graham would have had us canceling those plans anyway. By Friday evening, it was clear that Graham had a tummy bug. Usually, he sleeps off tummy troubles and they last less than 24 hours, but this flu held on! On top of that, Thursday into Friday we had a windstorm that knocked out power in the night and disruppted our sleep… Then Graham’s tummy troubles had us up in the night multiple nights in a row… And then add daylight savings! Our sleep has been so off!!! Thankfully, Graham perked up yesterday afternoon and is now 24 hour symptom free and back to his normal self.
Even with an unexpected illness this weekend, Jeremy and I tag-teammed some fun into Saturday. I got up early on Saturday to meet a friend for a cookie adventure. There is a local cookie shop only open on Saturdays and it’s hugely poplar – like long lines outside the shop until they sell out for the day. A friend and I have both been waiting for the hype to quiet down before trying Sweet Dough Cookie Co. It seems that isn’t happening so we decided to brave the line together. We got warm drinks and chatted while waiting. Our diligence paid off and we were fourth into the building! I was able to get seven delicious cookies that were a bright spot in a rougher-than-expected weekend. When I got home from my morning cookie adventure, Jeremy took off for an afternoon of golf with his family. We certainly felt bad for Graham, but we were glad that our weekend plans didn’t completely change. Mom and Dad need to have fun with friends/family every now and again!
Okay, that was a lot! So many little moments to share, but when added together make for an adventurous March! We are staring down the second half of the month and it promises to be full of epic moments. I have a conference coming up this weekend and then the following weekend is Jeremy’s birthday. The next few weeks will be our normal, somewhat quiet weekday routine so that way we can spend our energy on big weekends. I’m always trying to find a strike a balance with good margin. Calm weeks is a good trade off crazy weekends!
The last week or so has been filled with snowflakes. Some stick, some don’t. Sometimes we get a dusting. Sometimes we get a few inches. While I always welcome snow, I wish these brushes with snow could have consolidated into one good dump of snow. We have yet to reach my desired depth – the grass completely covered! Jeremy joked he should have mowed the grass so it was short and my dream would have come true. Ha! It probably would have worked. There is just something about little pieces of grass poking out that ruin the visual effect for me. Despite it not being blizzard conditions here, the snow has been fun. I love snow on trees and in February we made three snowman. Jeremy helped with the last one. It’s a giant snowman and even though it was made on Monday, it’s still standing today (Friday).
Other than snow days, we’ve been out and about with church, co-op, dinners with friends, and playdates. March will be a social month with more playdates and dinners on the calendar. I’m attending a conference with a friend this month and it’s also Jeremy’s birthday month. The winter hibernation is coming to an end. Spring is near! As much as I’ve enjoyed the cozy, inside vibes, I’m also ready for more time outside. Walks in the sunshine. Kids catching tadpoles. Longer days. Each season has it’s simple pleasures. I chuckle as I type this because there is a dusting of snow outside my window. I might be getting ahead of myself!
Below is a collection of our snowy day pictures and a few others from around the house. In my last post, I mentioned that February had Groundhog’s Day vibes. A lot of the same over and over again. It seems fitting that most of my photos from February are snow days with just a couple inches of snow… on repeat. Enjoy!
At the risk of sounding like a hermit, I’ve felt the pull toward hibernation in these winter months. Let’s just say, the damp weather and lack of daylight make outdoor adventures less appealing this time of year… Thanks to inflation, indoor adventures are also less enticing. Gas prices mixed with raised admission costs have kept me from pursuing new experiences. Instead, I’ve felt a strong desire to snuggle in and be cozy at home. We’ve kept soup stocked in our fridge and baked goods on the countertop. I’ve struggled with “blog-able” content because I usually share what neat things we’ve been up to over the course of a week. It would seem that our whole month has felt a bit like Groundhog’s Day. A lot of the same, over and over and over again. I’m not complaining about it! I’m a big fan of routine and margin on the calendar, but it’s not glamorous, that’s for sure.
When thinking about what to share with you, I decided to write about some of my daily things. My ordinary, day-in-and-out moments. My personality is all about self-discipline and I find that I quietly slip into certain tasks everyday, almost as if on auto-pilot. I’m always intrigued to hear what are the non-negotiables on other people’s calendars. What do they prioritize? It’s the little and sometimes mundane moments that snowball into how we live our lives. If you were to study a day in the life of Amy Scott, here are a few things you would see on repeat.
Making the bed – It’s how I start everyday. The science of starting your day with a productive win works for me.
Getting 10,000 steps – in the warmer months, I strive for 13,000+ steps, but walking the extra 3,000 steps is harder in the colder, darker months. If it’s dry, you’ll find me walking up and down my driveway – often talking with my mom or boys. If it’s wet, you’ll see me walking laps around my kitchen/dining/living room as my family plays or watches TV. If I need space or quiet, you might find me on the treadmill in the garage. How I walk is optional, but walking is not! If I’m walking alone, For King & Country, Switchfoot, or the Hamilton soundtrack are often playing (and I’m singing along). I also use walking time to listen to friends and respond on Marco Polo.
Reading my Bible – I’m not a morning person, so this doesn’t happen in the wee, dark hours of the morning before my family wakes up. It often happens at the dining room table while I sit by a boy working on a homeschool assignment or during quiet time or after the kids have gone to bed. For the last decade, I’ve used the YouVersion app on my phone for their Bible reading plans. I’m about a month away from finishing a Whole Bible in Two Years plan and then I’m going to switch back to reading a physical, print Bible. My sons might read their Bibles on devices as technology advances, but I want them to have childhood memories of their mom with her Bible open.
Journaling – I might not write in my journal every day, but I would say I do most days. My journaling has taken on a variety of forms over the years. I started actively journaling as a middle schooler and it’s a habit that stuck. Not only that, I’ve kept all of those journals. They are in a box in my garage. I thought I would share them with my future daughters, which I did not end up with… so what to do with them… Maybe my future granddaughters will read them. Honestly, they aren’t brilliant – especially the middle school years where I gushed about my crush on JT from N’SYNC. Nowadays, I write about what we’ve been up and how I’m feeling about things. Sometimes it’s just facts, sometimes it’s emotions. I process my world best through the written word. It’s why I love this blog. It’s like therapy for me.
Chores – I’m a tidy person by nature. I do at least one load of laundry a day. I’ll run the Roomba during quiet time or when we are out of the house. You’ll often find me indulging my OCD by wiping down the counters 4 times a day, if not more. I also compulsively fluff pillows. Once I week I have a “house cleaning” day, but I clean as a go throughout the week. I’m not a fan of clutter and I’m a huge believer in every item having a home it returns to after use.
The Fun Stuff – Reading, baking, playing games, soaking in the hot tub! Reading is my favorite hobby and I make time for it daily. Baking happens at least once a week, if not more. Board games on free evenings are a family favorite (right now Wingspan is the game of choice). Also on free evenings, you’ll find our family soaking in our inflatable hot tub before bedtime. Oh! Jeremy and I are re-watching an episode of Once Upon a Time each evening after the kids go to bed. It’s been fun to revisit our favorite show.
Not every day is same old, same old. We love getting out of the house for church and co-op. This last week was book club for me. It’s a highlight of my month. These women have become my village and I love bonding over a shared love of books. We had a snowy start to Valentine’s Day and the kids had a blast at their co-op party. Jeremy and Owen picked up a Heartbreaker pizza and tulips for our family to celebrate. We had a windstorm this week that knocked out our power for four hours in the middle of the night. Some adventures find you even when you aren’t looking for them.
Our calendar has been a bit on the quieter side, but I’m savoring the slow before we head into a busy spring. March will shift our pace of life so don’t be surprised if I cozy on in and enjoy the winter hibernation vibes just a little bit longer. The quiet, slow, and ordinary days can be a beautiful masterpiece. They showcase faithfulness – faithfulness to family, home, community, education, and faith. As my favorite Eugene Peterson quote says, “A long obedience in the same direction.” Oh, how that resonates with me!
It looks like February is going to be a sporadic blogging month for me. Sorry! As I mentioned in my last post, we spent January focused on getting back into routine after the holidays. It would seem that February is following in January’s footsteps (that is, if month’s had feet). We’ve been plodding away with our usual scheduled programing… all good things, but nothing too out of the ordinary.
Last weekend, we cheered on two of my nephews at an indoor soccer game. Let me tell you, I am a fan indoor sports! Especially in February! Nothing like being warm and dry while watching sports in the PNW. It was a pretty sweet deal. The boys had a blast cheering for their cousins and we were all excited their team won. While we were out and about on Saturday, we had a special pizza lunch with Nana and Papa. After the soccer game, we took the kids to Crumbl Cookies. Okay, Crumbl was really for Jeremy and I. Graham usually finds a cookie he enjoys each time, but Owen not so much. His cookie palette is limited to Safeway Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Last week, Jeremy and I started playing Wingspan in our free time. We purchased the original board game and also added the Oceania expansion set. We played a few games on our own before adding the boys into the mix. We have friends and family who love this game… and I am so bad at it! Jeremy and I decided to add it to our home collection so I could practice. I do believe I’m improving. I’ve won the last four games we’ve played!!! Since I’m terrible at board games, this feel like a major victory!
It’s been a big baking week for us. Owen helped me make a double batch of butter cookies on Monday. We froze them with plans to decorate them and give them out as Valentine’s gifts. I delivered a meal to a friend with a new baby. I made some brownies and cinnamon rolls (a double batch so we could keep one pan for ourselves) to include with the meal. I’m not a great cook so my “meal” consisted of frozen lasagna that I baked before delivery, a bag of salad, a bag of dinner rolls, brownies for dessert, cinnamon rolls for breakfast the following day, and a bottle of sparkling cider. Nothing fancy, but gifted with love and excitement. Graham helped Jeremy bake lemon bars today with lemons from his greenhouse. They made the kitchen smell so good! I plan to make another batch of brownies tonight – this time for the Super Bowl tomorrow.
Highlights of this weekend will be going over to my parent’s house for waffles soon. The boys will bring our Switch and collaborate with Grandpa & Grandma over all things Animal Crossing. Tomorrow we’ll watch the Super Bowl with Jeremy’s parents. Nana asked Owen if he would perform one of the piano songs they’ve been practicing together. Valentine’s Day is also right around the corner, so we’ll be decorating those butter cookies and preparing to share treats with our co-op friends. Since Valentine’s Day falls on a co-op day, the kids plan to exchange valentines, have a class party, and practice their square dancing in their Sunday best. Should be a hoot!
Happy Groundhog’s Day! I’ve been informed that good, old Phil saw his shadow today and there will be six more weeks of winter. If “winter” could resemble this last week’s weather, I would happily accept. We’ve had a rare dry stretch here in the PNW. It’s been cold, but it’s been sunny! Something about January (and now February) sunshine feels like a gift. Despite the chill, I’ve done my best to get a walk in the brisk, fresh air everyday it’s clear. Gotta get that Vitamin D! It helps stave off my desire to hibernate during these winter weeks.
My blog posts have been sporadic this past month. I like to write weekly, but something about January… It’s kind of a slow month. We definitely keep busy, but not in the most interesting ways. January feels like a return to ordinary, to routine after the holidays. It’s back to school and the usual commitments that took a break in December. It’s also my birthday month… which means, lots of book shopping… and book reading. The quiet is appreciated. The return to routine is grounding. Not super exciting to write about, but very good in a simple kind of way.
So, what to share? Last week our family gave a presentation at our homeschool co-op about the national parks we’ve visited. Each week at co-op a different family gives a 3-5 minute presentation. The inspiration for this activity was to give the kids in our group a chance to practice public speaking. The day of our family presentation, we also took our drama class on a field trip to the main stage in our church. We talked about the sound board and the lighting. Jeremy came down to help me turn everything on. We talked about stage positions and showed them backstage. This class has been surprisingly fun to teach. While I don’t have professional drama experience, it’s been neat to watch the kids latch on to acting and sharing stories. The kids are greatly enjoying themselves and it’s a huge relief to me that we are pulling this off! I’m so thankful a dear friend is co-teaching with me as well. It’s been quite the experience for us all.
While the younger kids are learning drama, the older class is learning Shakespeare. I sit in on this class as the parent helper. I will happily admit I’m learning just as much as the students. The group is doing an adapted version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I purchased my own copy of the play and I’ve almost finished it! This is the first time I’ve read Shakespeare since high school and the first time I’ve ever done it voluntarily. I love that our homeschool co-op is growing and challenging me as well as my kids.
The other co-op related highlight was our field trip to the fire station this week. We visited the fire station numerous times during our preschool years thanks to MOPS. This was the first time the kids have visited as elementary students. As we were driving to the station, we passed an aid car from the fire station. Then we came upon a fender bender were one of the cars had caught fire. The fire truck was there with the hose out. It had just put the fire out before we drove by. I explained to the boys that the firefighters might be too busy with this call to have us visit. The firefighters were slightly late, but they arrived at the station ready to give us a tour and answer our questions. The boys got to see all the equipment and sit inside the truck. They haven’t outgrown the age of fire trucks being cool. I appreciate having a group of families to do activities like this with. Our co-op has been a huge blessing to our homeschool journey.
What to say that’s not co-op related? We’ve had quite a bit of time around the house as we’ve settled back into routine. Lots of time for board games, books, and baking. The boys are into playing Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch. This game has sparked an interest in fish and bugs since they collect them on their island, Sunny Pear. I’ve picked up some new reference books (book club recommendations) and I love seeing the boys pouring through them – identifying creatures and sharing facts. The new thing to build with LEGOs is the variety of fish they can catch on Animal Crossing. While I’m not a huge fan of video games, I can get behind something that sparks their interest in the natural world.
I’m not sure if February will mimic January in its chill vibes. Apparently, Phil thinks so. I won’t mind if it does. I enjoy these winter days – snuggled inside, warm, cozy. It’s a good mix of commitments and down time. A quiet balance. As the weather improves, our calendar fills up. We’ve had lots of calendar talks recently (anyone else feel like their spring/summer is booked? Just me?). I know busy days are coming. Our calendar tends to ebb and flow. I can appreciate this slower season knowing it prepares for me what lies around the bend.
January can be a bleak month for some after the joy of holiday celebrations in December. My January birthday makes the festive and fun vibes continue on even after the Christmas season has passed and we’ve welcomed a New Year. I’m all for making my birthday into a celebration that goes beyond the actual date of January 14th. Not only my birthday, but January itself affords many other moments of celebration. It’s the small, simple joys that add up. They add some confetti to the middle-of-winter atmosphere.
We finished our 18th week of school on Thursday. We are officially halfway through our school year!!! Since we don’t have teacher conferences to reward the kids for positive feedback, we developed a reward system of our own. At the end of the 1st & 3rd quarter, the boys can select a $10 reward. At the end of the 2nd & 4th quarter, they receive a $20 reward. It’s essentially our version of paying for good grades. Making the “grade” isn’t really the focus, though. It’s a reward system based on completion of work and the general attitude of the quarter. I’m thankful my kiddos enjoy being students. It makes being their teacher rewarding and I want to honor the effort they have made.
This weekend was a fun one! The perfect mix of productivity, rest, and socializing. Friday was my weekly “clean the house” day. I do a list of chores once a week to get the house to its base level of clean (bathrooms, floors, dusting). Housecleaning day depends on our plans (and if the house should be tidy for company). Cleaning never takes a full day so there was time to rest before a late night out at book club. The post-Christmas book club is special because we all have new books to share.
Saturday, we had my forever friend, Maggie, and her family over for the the day. The kids happily played with toys while the adults played Wingspan and watched the Chiefs play the Jaguars. Maggie and I share a birthday month with our birthdays only a couple weeks apart. This last weekend was in the middle of our two birthdays so we took a moment to celebrate 37 with brownies, candles, and a song.
Sunday morning was church and then a quiet afternoon/evening. It was also Lunar New Year which our kids latched on to celebrating a few years ago. It has turned into a low-key tradition for us. Our version of Lunar New Year consists of red envelopes with a small amount of money and then Chinese food for dinner. We certainly don’t go all out, but it’s fun to make the day a little extra.
One last highlight of the week was finding a new quilt for our bedroom. Our comforter set has been showing its age for a while, but I’m so picky when it comes to bedding. The stress of finding the right bedding almost paralyzes me. In my opinion, the bed is a huge focal point of our room and I want it to look put together. Too many throw pillows or throw blankets or added layers start to overwhelm me, though. After a long search, Jeremy and I settled on a navy quilt with a herringbone pattern to it. It works well with the sheet set and throw pillows we already have. Jeremy was the one who suggested we move from gray bedding to navy and it certainly makes the bed pop on the gray wall. I’ve enjoyed seeing our color palette of blues, grays, and creamy whites expand throughout the house.
That sums up the January celebrations for now. Small things, but definitely bright spots in the midst of the cold wintertime. The holidays might be over, but the time for celebrating is not!